These past few weeks have been energizing, exhilarating, and yet also extremely frightening for me. I have had to take some huge steps in regards to publicizing my sexuality and situation. In a previous post I wrote about unmasking myself. Well, I think I can safely say, as of today I'm pretty much officially unmasked. Some people 'come out' w/ a lengthy post on their FB wall and share their experiences or they bake a cake and write "Yep, I'm Gay" in frosting on the top. But my experience has been a little different.
For months, nay years, I've noticed how many LGBTQ LDS folk there are in Utah. However, up here in Idaho, while I know there are a lot that exist, there aren't many who are "out", including myself, or who are ready to confront that part of themselves. So they suppress it, and it sometimes rears its ugly head in not-so-good ways (casual and anon sex, porn, etc) b/c those needs, feelings, desires, etc. need addressed! Come now or come in 20 years, they will eventually want to be heard! For a middle-aged guy like myself it's lonely as hell around here. Sure, I could jump on Grindr or Craigslist or another app and find a whole world of men. But ideally I want friends or a group of friends who share my views, beliefs, wants, desires, and goals. The gay/bi/same-sex attracted, married w/ children, middle aged dudes w/ strong testimonies of the gospel. I knew I had to do something to coax these scared, closeted men out of the closet, even if it would mean flinging the closet door wide open on myself!
I took it upon myself to launch a chapter of Men Finding Peace support group here in East Idaho for LDS SSA men. This would mean I would have to basically come out to the whole world in order to spread the news and message of this group as well as my involvement and support of North Star International. At first I did everything I could under the radar w/o actually outing myself...creating flyers, FB and Blogger pages, putting ads in the newspaper and everywhere online I could think of. But then it came time for me to really step outside of my own safe, cozy closet and share the news of the new support group w/ the world.
So, on 11/28/2016 at exactly 4:34pm I shared my Men Finding Peace East Idaho page w/ the world and since then I have continued to share various events, posts, pictures, etc of my group as well as those of North Star. I have sent messages to people on Facebook telling them about the group and asking them to spread the word to any they may know or who may be in need. I've sent invites of the page to most of my FB friends. Any wonder or question or doubt anyone may have had about my sexuality is now out there. And you know what? Nothing has changed. I've had supportive messages and comments here and there and a few negative ones, but as a whole nothing awful or devastating has resulted in my 'coming out.'
I'm excited to start this next chapter of my life as someone who is secure in his sexuality and his desires, goals, wants and values and who can help support, encourage, love, understand, and advise other men in the gospel/church who need support and brotherhood and friendship and connection.
It's refreshing and worth-while to be 'out' and to be a spokesman and advocate for SSA/gay/bi married LDS men at this stage of my life. I am most definitely a minority amongst minorities, and I couldn't be happier!